Distributed intimacies CFP
Banff Research in Culture 2014
Summer Research Residency
Program Dates: May 26, 2014 – June 13, 2014
Application Deadline: December 2, 2013
Application and Program Info: http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1394
Faculty: Lauren Berlant<http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1394&facId=4020&p=member>, Francisco Camacho<http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1394&facId=4282&p=member>, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun<http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1394&facId=4577&p=member>
Intimacy describes our relations with those people, places, creatures, and things to which we feel the deepest, most powerful or most abiding connections. The multiple ways in which we experience intimacy today draw attention to the complex patterning of closeness and distance that has always unconsciously structured our cultural, social and political practices. There have long been forms of distant intimacy—staying ‘in touch’ via the drama of epistolary exchanges or through sound waves emanating from a telephone—but recent technological developments, increased travel, the expansion of migration and immigration, and instantaneous virtual communication are fundamentally reshaping our understanding and experience of the proximity of bodies, sentiments, and ideas. Social networking and the democratization of modes of communication and media have had a profound significance for the experience of community, collectivity, and affinities; at every level, from the family to the nation, our sense of belonging is being redefined in ways that affect our daily experience but remain difficult to comprehend.
One can see evidence of the new distribution of intimacy everywhere: in the immediacy of a rock concert, one witnesses people en masse recording the spectacle for friends not present; on public transit around the world, passengers make connections to different elsewheres via newspapers, music, text messages, and mobile phone calls; and in political protests (as evidenced by the Arab Spring and recent dissent in Turkey), which have been reshaped by the use of technologies that are, for a new generation, part and parcel of everyday life. Intimacies of friendship, collectivity, love and belonging are being substantially redefined through the devices in our hands and a global infrastructure that supports instantaneous sharing.
Banff Research in Culture (BRiC) 2014 will investigate the cultural, social, and political repercussions of “distributed intimacies”—the processes and outcomes of new forms of mediation that have reshaped how we relate to one another, imagine ourselves as parts of groups, and constitute communities. Given the fractal character of our subjectivity—the ways in which we are necessarily the outcome of networks of intersubjective relations, experiences, and concepts—how are our intimacies constituted by the ways we live? What are the modes and machines by which intimacies are distributed, and what determines their intensities? How does the global distribution of goods, ideas and affects across oceans and continents shape forms of intimacy, belonging and community? What forms of intimacy feel inescapable? What impedes intimacy from flourishing? Are local scenes and forms of collectivity (e.g., non-traditional families, polyamory, activist movements, alternative forms of political practice) enabled by new forms of distributed intimacies? In what ways do contemporary cultural and art practices participate in the distribution of intimacy? To what extent are our intimacies segmented, remote-controlled, and apportioned, and can we redefine these distributions without lapsing into a nostalgic primitivism? Finally, what does distributed intimacy imply for social change as well as for the politics of shaping one’s own self in relation to others?
We look forward to receiving compelling and original project proposals from thinkers and creators working on a wide range of projects.
Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies
Killam Annual Professor
Professor of English, Film Studies and Sociology
University of Alberta